State v. Lucero

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 09-04-2014
  • Case #: A149756
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: De Muniz, S.J.; Sercombe, P.J.; and Hadlock, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Evidence showing the legality of legal proceedings resulting in an eviction is not admissible at trial when those proceedings are final and have no consequence regarding the legality of Defendant's entry or whether Defendant was aware that the entry was otherwise licensed or privileged.

Defendant appealed a judgment of conviction for one count of criminal trespass in the first degree and one count of harassment. He argued that the trial court erred in excluding evidence supporting Defendant's belief that the legal proceedings resulting in his eviction from a foreclosed property were unlawful. A bank obtained foreclosure judgment and subsequently brought a forcible entry and detainer (FED) action to remove Defendant from the foreclosed property. The Defendant would not permit the officer's to enter the property and argued that the write of execution was illegal. Defendant was removed and told if he returned to the property he would be trespassing. Defendant immediately tried to return to the property. Defendant argued with police and was taken into custody. The police posted an "Eviction Trespass Notice" on all the entries. Defendant was released from custody the same day. Defendant returned to the home and was subsequently arrested for criminal trespass, harassment, and obstructing governmental administration. Defendant wanted to submit evidence at trial showing the proceedings leading to the eviction were unlawful to show he did not have the requisite mental state to commit the crimes he was charged with. Defendant was permitted to testify at trial. The Court found that the legal proceedings resulting in the eviction order were final, establishing that Defendant was not licensed or privileged to enter the premises. Under the circumstances, evidence supporting Defendant's belief that those proceedings were somehow illegal or invalid was of no consequence regarding the legality of Defendant's entry or whether Defendant was aware of the fact that his entry was not otherwise licensed or privileged. Accordingly, the evidence was not relevant and the trial court correctly excluded it. Affirmed.

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